Minister for Forest and Soil Conservation Agni Sapkota today said China had sought two pairs of one-horned rhinoceros from Nepal.
Addressing a press meet to reveal details about his five-day China visit today, Minister Sapkota said since one-horned rhino had gone extinct in China, the Chinese government wished to conserve rhinoceros.
Listed in Appendix 1 of Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, the endangered one-horned rhinoceros is found only in Nepal and India.
According to former Director General of Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation Shyam Bajimaya, Nepal had gifted one-horned rhinoceros to Bangladesh, Pakistan, China, USA and Germany in the past.
He said Nepal had also sent a pair of rhino calves to Germany. He said the last pair of rhinos that Nepal gifted to another country was in 2006 when the then crown prince Paras took the pair to Vienna.
DNPWC spokesperson Maheswor Dhakal said there was no legal hurdle in presenting the endangered one-horned rhinoceros to other countries if the Nepal government decided to do so.
He said the government could gift rhinos for scientific and research purposes, as there are several examples of sharing endangered fauna for scientific research.
Minister Sapkota added that as a Forest and Soil Conservation Minister he could not give word to China and told the Chinese authorities that he would take the initiative to gift two pairs of rhinoceros to China after consulting Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli.
Spokesperson Dhakal said currently Nepal had 645 one-horned rhinos.
Minister said during his visit the two countries decided to take initiative to develop green economic corridors at two check-points on the Nepal-China border Tatopani-Gangmu and Rasuwagadhi-Kerung to conserve the wildlife in the border areas and control illegal trade of forest resources and wildlife.
He said China had agreed to extend financial and technical support for establishing forensic science laboratory for wildlife research and also for establishing a wildlife sanctuary near Kathmandu.
The minister added International Network for Bamboo and Rattan was keen to extend support to Nepal for developing shelters for earthquake victims using bamboo.
Minister Sapkota had visited China on the invitation of the Chinese Minister for State Forestry Administration.